Backyard Wildlife

with Spencer Shaw

If like me you’re a fan of sharing your garden with native fauna, then here’s a few tips on providing habitat for our native animals. In particular we’ll discuss birds, but these tips will increase habitat for a wide range of fauna.
The bulk of plants used in mainstream native gardens are cultivar Grevilleas, Banksias and Bottle Brushes. These are all amazing flowering plants that add colour, variety and are great nectar sources, but if they are the dominant plants in your native garden and they are surrounded by large open areas of lawn then aggressive birds such as Rainbow Lorikeets and the Common (or Noisy) Myna will often dominate to the exclusion of more timid birds. My tip here is to add different levels to your planting such as groundcovers and grasses; a diversity of shrubs and trees; and bushier plantings that give smaller or timid birds somewhere to hide. Apart from plants and the resources they provide, water is crucial for wildlife and you can supply this in the form of a pond or bird bath (just make sure small shallow containers are regularly cleaned as they can spread disease). But I digress back to the plants…
Edible seed-bearing grasses such as Kangaroo Grass, Poa, Lomandra, Bamboo Grass etc… can increase habitat for smaller birds, with the added bonus that these grasses provide valuable nesting material. It’s the picture of parental persistence watching tiny Red Brow Finches, trying to keep their balance as they take flight with a length of grass ten times their height to build their nests with.
Don’t forget fruiting plants such as Flax Lilly, Midyim, Breynia, Muttonwood, Bleeding Heart, Blueberry Ash and Native Elderberry provide sustenance for a great variety of birds including Lewins Honey Eaters, Emerald Doves, Bower Birds, King Parrots and Currawongs.
Your garden is a great place to share with and learn about the wildlife, enjoy.